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ethics in communication

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July 8, 2013

ethics in communication

5. Communication ethics is based on the idea that ethics emerges from and occurs within communication itself. In his foundational Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle (1998) describes how virtue is an expression of character in which we become temperate by doing temperate acts. Not only do social norms become a framework within which all forms of the good (and by extension, the bad) may be produced, they also invisibly become part of the interconnected embeddedness of the social that make subjectivity itself possible. the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs. I do not project; I receive the other into myself, and I see and feel with the other” (1984, p. 30). The concepts most directly associated with ethics are truth, honesty, fairness, and equity. The relational thread of communication ethics calls upon us to never lose sight of the radical alterity, or otherness, of the other. Similarly, the financial managers of this company know that without such incentives, the company will lose money leading to layoffs of workers and possibly denial of even more claims. 1. Other deontological ethical theories include religious and monastic approaches (such as adhering to divine commands, doctrinal principles, and the fulfillment of monastic vows) and social-contract theories based on the philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Jeans-Jacques Rousseau. Significantly for communication, both Habermas’s and Rawls’s theories center on processes of communication from which ethical norms and principles are derived. Indeed, every form of communication is centered on a value or set of values. In contrast, tacit ethics are implicit patterns of communicative interaction institutions that have ethical implications. Even the 18th-century American political virtues of Jeffersonian democracy (inscribed in the Declaration of Independence as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) derive in part from the Aristotelian idea of eudaimonia, the happiness caused by living a virtuous life. Regardless of relevance or consequence, I can do no other’” (Rustin, 1955, p. 68). Who dictates the terms of what is normative, correct, standard, common sense? Indeed, every form of communication is centered on a value or set of values. Similarly, Squires (2002) draws on this concept to examine how subordinated groups voice political resistance in disguise, hidden between the lines of the official or public transcript in a multiplicity of coded forms: “In the history of Black public spheres, the pressures of living in a racist society, the ongoing fight for equality, and the rich cultural reserves have necessitated” the use of hidden transcripts (Squires, 2002, p. 457). Ethics is the study of values and morals of what is right and wrong (Sage 2009). The relationships between ethics and power can be understood in terms of three dimensions—justice, normativity, and force. Broadly conceived, ethics concerns the creation and evaluation of goodness, or “the good,” by responding to the general question: How shall we live? Joseph Caputo, in contrast, argues against ethics itself and in its place posits the affirmation of the other, the singularity of each ethical situation, and the centrality of the unqualified, unconditional gift that requires precisely those things that are not required. That is, we are asked to never mistake our understanding of the other for the other herself, never to impose our meaning and understanding upon him, never to attempt to absorb/assimilate/appropriate the other into ourselves. Ten Basics of Ethical Communication. In place of ethical rules or precepts, for example, Zygmunt Bauman posits the idea of moral responsibility in which each person must stretch out towards others in pursuit of the good in all situations, even, or perhaps most especially, when what is the good is most uncertain. Rather than theorizing an ethics based in individual character, duty, outcome, or interest, dialogic ethics locates the ethical in the intersubjective sphere of communicative relationships between and among persons. When or how are these stories punctuated, and who speaks and who is ignored? And because both communication and ethics are tacitly or explicitly inherent in all human interactions, everyday life is fraught with intentional and unintentional ethical questions—from reaching for a cup of coffee to speaking up in a public meeting. Interdependency manifests in the recognition that humans are socially embedded beings and therefore that no self exists completely independent of the social conditions (e.g., language, customs, narratives, hierarchies) from which that self emerged. Ethics in social communication is concerned not just with what appears on cinema and television screens, on radio broadcasts, on the printed page and the Internet, but with a great deal else besides. A host of other issues, such as censorship, omission, bias, confidentiality, deception, libel, misrepresentation, slander, and witness, have long been central to ethical concerns in journalism. from Johannensen Ethics in Human Communication. All immorality begins with demanding such a test” (Bauman, 1993). In other words, people would deem principles of fairness without knowing where in society they would end up at the end of the day. The relational dimension of communication ethics are also important in feminist care-based ethics, focusing less on the rights of individuals and more upon caring responsibilities in relationships (Tronto, 1993). Communication Ethics in Practice In this section, we put our knowledge from the previous two modules to practice. Especially, since they can sometimes overlap and conflict. Martha Nussbaum, for example, argues that consequentialist reasoning all too easily leads to a kind of heartless cost-benefit calculation that excludes the full expanses of the ethical. To be an ethical communicator means to practice being truthful, honest and accurate in communications. Scholarship in subsequent decades came to emphasize speech education as a means to prepare citizens for participation, as both speakers and listeners, in democracy, and particularly as a way to resist fascist oratory. Explicit and overt questions of communication ethics often involve the values of justice. 4. Similarly, tensions between local and state or federal control can also shape what values or modes of reasoning take precedence. In the field of communication ethics, scholars draw upon a variety of ethical theories to address questions pertaining to goodness involving all manifestations of communicative interaction. A brief overview of five modes of ethical reasoning will close the article. One of the central concerns of communication ethics pertains to our relation to others and, in particular, to the radical otherness, or alterity, of others. Ethics compels us to ask “What ought I to do?” amidst competing values in a given situation. The area of corporate ethics, for example, concerns not “green-leafing” public relations, but institutional practices that create goodness—such as transparency, accountability, and profit-sharing—not just for owners or shareholders, but for all stakeholders including workers, the earth, the animals, and so forth (Groom & Fritz, 2012). History relates to ethics via other questions of narrative, public and private. Copy and paste the following HTML into your website. About what topics is it important to tell the truth? Ethics-in-communication-pdf The area of justice provides yet another means by which power interrelates with communication ethics. Language plays a significant role in the production, maintenance, and change in relations of power. The acknowledgment of alterity enables speakers to acknowledge, if not honor, radical differences in thought, belief, political and social location, communicative, symbolic and social capital, and so forth. 3000 bce). Thus explicit force such as prohibitions of speaking and listening are met with implicit and explicit modes of force involving rumor, gossip, disguises, linguistic tricks, metaphors, euphemisms, folktales, and ritual gestures: “For good reason, nothing is entirely straightforward here; the realities of power for subordinate groups mean that much of their political action requires interpretation precisely because it is intended to be cryptic and opaque” (Scott, 1990, p. 137). Normativity is a form of power with wide-ranging ethical implications. Scholars critical of objectivist perspectives drew upon insights from critical, critical race, feminist, postcolonial and postmodernist theories that challenged prevailing orthodoxies about the nature of identity, the status of the subject, and the role of power in constructing models of “the good.” Scholars such as Molefi Asante, Larry Gross, and Janice Hocker Rushing undertook examinations of the relationship of ethics to racism, sexuality, and sexism (Asante, 1992; Gross, 1991; Rushing, 1993). That is, communication ethics looks not merely at individual agency and intersubjective processes but also at institutional norms, structural arrangements, and systematic patterns. Below are described five such modes of ethical reasoning. Associated largely with late 20th-century Euro-American philosophers, such as Zygmunt Bauman, Joseph Caputo, and Michel Foucault, but also with feminist ethicists such as Carol Gilligan, Joan Tronto, and Nel Noddings, postmodern ethicists critique so-called modernist and enlightenment ethical philosophies such as virtue, deontological, and teleological ethics. Instead of “What ought I to do?” communication ethics compels us to ask, “How ought I to respond?” It takes up concerns about how, in the absence of a universal, overarching ethical perspective in today’s world, we can best live together amidst often incommensurable differences. Similarly, ethical codes and credos that stipulate their norms and values are often written at the level of the individual and therefore obscure how institutions, organizations, and groups also function as (un)ethical agents. A hideous new dimension of violence has emerged with hate speech on the internet. Some ethicists, such as Zygmunt Bauman, would likely argue that the concept of corporate ethics is itself oxymoronic: “No moral impulse can survive, let alone emerge unscathed from, the acid test of usefulness or profit. The question of what makes a convincing ethical argument changes from setting to setting. Codes and credos can also interfere with individual ethical agency and decision-making by removing from conscious awareness the need for vigilant attention to ethical issues that may be hidden. Language never existed before address” (1998, p. 105). Rawls’s veil was intended to conceal the social position of each participant in the deliberation of justice. Or set of values and morals of what is not vulnerable to ideological ideas about worthy and suffering! This is not a problem-solving state, but a feeling-with state to “ elicit the best ” in and. The previous two modules to practice study of values theact or process of communicating fact. 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